24 July 2014

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Event review: Royal Ascot 2013


Now in its 302nd year, Royal Ascot remains the jewel of the racing calendar, attracting the genteel to three days of fizz and frivolous betting. V&E dusted off its finery and went looking for Irishmen with good tips.

Words: Russell Cook

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Royal Ascot might be a royal affair, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let loose. Picture us dancing – shirt undone, a pitcher of Pimm’s in hand – to a bad covers band in the car park of a pub. Oh, we had fun.

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That, you’ll be relieved to hear, was at the end of the day, once the races were run. We started things a little more tranquil, with lunch in The Bessborough Restaurant, courtesy of Sodexo Prestige.

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The fizz flowed, tips were passed around and we got stuck into loin of cold smoked and cured salmon, a hearty fillet of Angus beef with horseradish-whipped potato, and dark chocolate fleur de sel with salt caramel and wild strawberry dressing to finish.

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Earlier in the day, we interviewed two Michelin-star chef Tom Kerridge, in charge of the menu at the fine-dining Panoramic Restaurant on the sixth floor. Check out the video here.

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With sated tums and cocktails in hand, we moved out onto the semi-permanent structure’s sunny balcony, to watch the royal procession. It’s usually around then we find a savvy Irishmen to give us a hand choosing the right gee-gee for the upcoming races. No such luck this year.

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Some won big, others lost bigger, and with the racing done, we trotted down to the bandstand for a very British sing-along: ‘Hey Jude’, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and ‘We'll Meet Again’ to name a few. Well-oiled, courtesy of First Drinks, we waved Union Jacks and bellowed with aplomb.

Then, the inevitable walk down the hill to Jagz – cue a Pimm’s-fuelled bop into the night.

Best bit – Soaking up the rays on the Bessborough Restaurant balcony and getting our annual sighting of Elizabeth.

Room for improvement – More winning tips for the novices, please.

SuppliersSodexo, Red Tractor, Severn & Wye, Beluga Vodka, First Drinks for Piper, Monkey's Shoulder, Hendricks Gin and Remy VSOP.

Ascot, Berkshire, London SL5 7JX

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